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Water Features Pose Significant Risk to Children

Las Vegas is home to some of the most iconic urban water features in the country. Especially at night, when the water is lit up, big fountains can be an impressive show. Of course, the big fountains aren’t the only water features one can find in and around Las Vegas. More modest fountains and other water features, like a koi pond, are everywhere. Small children, who are attracted to water, can suffer serious injuries, including death, if they fall into a water feature and aren’t rescued in time.

Premises liability for water features

Homeowners and businesses alike owe certain obligations to guests to maintain their properties in reasonably safe condition. For a business that maintains a water feature that is accessible to the public, reasonable steps to keep the water feature safe might include:
  • Active, 24-hour video monitoring.
  • Maintaining fences and other barriers to prevent access.
  • Having personnel on site with training to respond to a drowning emergency.
Note that liability for a water feature can extend even to places that are not accessible to the public. Under the attractive nuisance doctrine, a property owner can be held liable for injuries suffered by a child who trespasses onto a property in order to gain access to a water feature, like a pool or private fountain. Property owners are required to take active steps to ensure that a child who trespasses onto their property to use an “attractive” feature is protected from injury, such as by ensuring that a barrier is in place or by covering the water feature when not in use.

What role does a parent’s supervision play?

Parents of small children should always keep a close eye on their kids when they are around water. This is true for all children, but especially those who don’t know how to swim or keep themselves safe in the water. Always bear in mind that water features that aren’t intended for human use probably have slippery bottoms, making rescues more difficult. Parents who allow their children to wander off to a water feature without adequate oversight may face a defense of contributory negligence in any ensuing personal injury case. The defense may argue that the parents disregarded the potential danger to their child and therefore should be at least partially responsible for the child’s resulting injuries. Additional facts, like warning signs or evidence that the parent was aware of the risk but ignored it, could work in the defense’s favor.

GGRM is a Las Vegas personal injury law firm

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez represents clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury a litigation. Our practice focuses on providing caring service to each and every client. For a free attorney consultation about your case, call us today at 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.